Perhaps this is a random observation, but I’ve always loved how in Disney’s Electrical Parade, there is a “bridge” float between Cinderella and Peter Pan. It’s the simplest float because it’s simply a giant tolling clock. The hands are at midnight, symbolizing the infamous time of transformation in Cinderella, but it’s also the same clock that Peter and Wendy land on before flying off to Neverland (it’s Big Ben, in case you never noticed). But as I watched the parade last night for like the hundredth time this summer, it struck me just how important that clock is. In both movies, the clock symbolizes that no matter how hard you try, time moves on. Cinderella couldn’t spend all night at the ball, and Wendy had to face the fact that she needed to grow up. And it’s a fact that we have to live with. None of us can spend forever doing something. We need to grow up, move on, and accept change. The clock in the parade is just a simple reminder that although you may have just had the most magical day (or week, or month, or summer) in Disney world, it’s the end of the day, and it’s almost time to go home.
For the second time in 6 months, I have to say goodbye to a whole group of friends that I don’t know if I’ll ever see again. Sure, I’ll be back to work at Disney in a few months, but it will be with a whole new group of college-programmers. Once again, I’ll take the time to get to know them, and once again they’ll leave. Three months isn’t nearly enough time. But as the summer winds down, I know that with the end of summer comes a beginning as well: the beginning of school. Although even that is an “end” . . . but I won’t talk about graduation yet. It’s far too soon for that.
One of my favorite parts about working at Disney is being able to meet people, whether I talk to them for five minutes at my register, or whether I see them every day. I now have friends from all over the world, and even if I never see them again, I treasure the fact that I got to know them and spend even just a little bit of time with them. I think this comic that I found actually describes how I feel quite perfectly:
In Peter Pan, the movie begins with Wendy’s father telling her that she will have to stop sleeping in the nursery, as it’s time for her to grow up. She fights this fact by flying off to Neverland with Peter Pan. In Neverland, time seems completely irrelevant. In the same way, Disney is a place where time seems to stand still, and perhaps that’s why so many people like it. For a brief period of time, you are reminded of what it feels like to be a kid again, and for children, it feels like Neverland. You are there without a care in the world. Disney places you in a continual state of wonder, hope, and happiness. (Unless of course you’re confronted with a screaming Brazilian tour group, but I promise I won’t rant on that monstrosity.) And for cast members, especially those of us who only spend a brief time there, Disney often feels like a wondrous thing that will never end. Time seems like an irrelevant detail. But nonetheless, as the clock reminds us, time does inevitably march on. And sooner or later, we’ll have to face its toll. Summer is nearly over, and it’s time to go back to “the real world.” It’s time to go back home.
I’m not sure that I got all that I possibly could have gotten out of the summer, but I’ve certainly tried my best. Although it’s gone by quickly, it has also been filled with happy memories that I’ll never forget. Because you know, when you wish upon a star, it makes no difference who you are. When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true. So I suppose it’s time to make a wish, and do as dreamers do . . .